Live Design Blog Archive

i-Pix aboard London 2012 Handover Bus

Lighting designer Durham Marenghi specified individual i-Pix BB4 LED cells to up-light the performers onboard the special double decker London bus in the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics ‘Handover' sections of the 2008 Beijing Olympics & Paralympics Closing Ceremonies.

The two Handover events took place 3 weeks apart in the Birds Nest stadium, and were integral elements of both Games' Closing Ceremonies.

Marenghi chose BB4 cells - high power homogenized 20 degree RGB lightsources - because they were “efficient, bright and low power”. There were 24 individual units bordering each of the 2 scissor lift platforms either end of the bus, and 20 on the central hydraulic ram lift.

During the 8 minute ‘Handover' section of the 2008 Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony the lifts were used by UK stars David Beckham, Leona Lewis and Jimmy Page who led the show with dancers from the Royal Opera House Ballet, CandoCo and Zoonation.

For the same section of the Paralympics Closing ceremony, the bus was completely rebranded in the bright, funky colours of the 2012 Paralympics logo. It was utilised for a primarily dance orientated show that included performances by drummer Cherisse Osei and guitarist Sam Hegedus, with an appearance by Wheelchair Basketball medalist, Ade Adepitan.

It was the first time the two Closing Ceremony ‘handovers' have been linked in this way.

The bus was designed by Stufish, and the BB4s – along with other lighting elements – were integrated into it by Stage One, who customised the whole vehicle for the shows.

Marenghi originally used BB4s on the 2008 Dancing On Ice –The Tour and liked their excellent colour range and compactness. He was also impressed with them on this year's cutting edge Radiohead 2008 tour (LD Andi Watson).

All lighting on the bus – it had its own complete show system including a set of LED umbrellas - was programmed and operated by Tim Routledge using a grandMA console, located at the front of the bus by the driver. The lighting fixtures were powered by an onboard generator, and the control equipment by an inverter linked to the bus's battery.

The 2012 Handover show's musical director was Philip Sheppard. Ray Winkler production designed, costumes were created by Jonathan Bentley, stage management was led by Sam Hunter and John Farquhar-Smith was the production director.

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